John Blattner of Fulton believes in the old business axiom of finding a niche and filling it.
After closing four furniture stores he had operated in Central Missouri for 30 years, Blattner was looking around for another business opportunity in Fulton. He noticed that all the mattress stores had closed in Fulton. This week the Fulton native opened The Mattress Store at 1915 N. Bluff St., providing a full line of name-brand mattresses.
The new 3,000-square-foot business is located in the showroom of the former Royal Automotive building in Fulton.
"I am leasing only the showroom area of the former General Motors auto dealership," Blattner said.
The Mattress Store offers lines of mattresses manufactured by Serta, Sealy and Tempurpedic.
"Our prices are competitive with any store. All mattresses are made in the United States and foreign competition is not a problem. In this business, there is no competitive advantage from big box stores.
Even though they are larger, they cannot buy mattresses cheaper than I can buy them," Blattner said.
"I will have as big or a better selection of mattresses than the big box stores," Blattner said. "I will have better pricing here, because I don't have their high overhead costs."
"I also can order a mattress and have it here in one week."
After the business grows, Blattner plans to add employees. His business now is open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It's open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
The store offers a wide selection of mattresses, ranging in price from $199 for a queen-size box spring and mattress set to $3,999 for an adjustable Tempurpedic queen set.
"I have high quality at a discount price," Blattner said.
The store also offers a small selection of mattresses that have been discontinued with no warranty and full warranty mattresses and box spring sets.
"A mattress is one item that people want to buy locally. Since we offer a big selection at a value price, we can beat prices at other places," Blattner said.
"People can pick up mattresses at no charge. We also provide mattress deliveries and pickups of old mattresses at a small charge."
The Mattress Store charges $15 to deliver a twin or full-size set and $25 to deliver a queen or king set. The store charges the same prices to remove existing box spring and mattress sets.
"Those are prices for delivery within the city limits of Fulton. There is a $1 per mile charge extra for deliveries outside of Fulton," Blattner said.
Blattner previously owned and operated Blattner Furniture stores for 30 years in Fulton, Centralia, Jefferson City and Columbia.
"I was not large enough to make the mass purchases of furniture that big box stores in the United States did in China and other places. Then the economic downturn hit. The combination of those two factors ended up squeezing me out of the furniture business," he said.
He closed the last Blattner Furniture store in Jefferson City at the end of 2009. The original Blattner furniture store in Fulton was in the Blattner family for 45 years.
"I bought the store from my dad in 1979 and then opened the other stores in Centralia, Columbia and Jefferson City," Blattner said.
A native of Fulton, Blattner still is a resident here.
"That's why I was looking around for a business opportunity in Fulton. I didn't want to drive as much as I did when I had those furniture stores," he said.
He added that the mattress business is not new to him because he sold mattresses at his furniture stores.